Patti Smith, Punk Rock Singer-Songwriter, Poet, Author, and Visual Artist. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and won’ the National Book Award for her memoir, Just Kids, in 2010.
"The day that I realized that I liked speaking in front of people. Socially I could be shy and a bit awkward, but we were studying Moby Dick in school, and I was so bored with the teacher's presentation that—I guess it was obvious—the teacher got mad and told me if I thought I could present it better, to come up and do it. And I said 'alright,' and I got up and told the class all about Moby Dick, in my own terms. Everyone really enjoyed it much more, and I thought that'd be something I could do quite well. I considered being a schoolteacher. I didn't, of course, but I am often now talking before people. I think of that day a lot."
"I thought of it last year at Glastonbury because the crowd we had was so huge. The Dalai Lama came on our stage, and I wanted to ask the people to sing him happy birthday. I looked out on all these people, close to a hundred thousand people, and if I ever feel a little nervousness, I just think about that moment—getting in front of the class and then just saying what was on my mind. Just speaking one-to-one, and it all worked out fine. So that stays with me. That moment."
"On our last tour, we were in Poland, and I looked out into the field of about twenty thousand people. We were doing Horses, and I promise you, seventy percent of those people were under twenty-five, and they sang the lyrics to the whole album. I was in tears because that, for me, is something. If you're going to feel pride, the fact that you can communicate that strongly with new generations. Right in the middle of a place I'd never been in my life, to have that many young people supporting what we were doing, giving their energy, and receiving. That's the kind of thing that I strove for when I was young. You know, communicating directly with people. That's something to be proud of, more than an award."
Interview via Vice, Photo via Vanity Fair